Pac-12 Network impacted by strike against production crews

A leading Hollywood production union has tried to pressure Pac-12 Network production crews not to do their jobs during an ongoing strike, according to a conference source.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) began a strike against the Pac-12 Network on Saturday Dec. 8, calling it an "unfair employer." Apparently at issue is the network’s practice of using "mixed crews" for TV productions that include union, non-union and student workers.

According to an IATSE statement, non-union labor employed by the Pac-12 Network has received, "generally lower wages, no benefits, and are without the job protections afford by an [IATSE] contract."

IATSE picketers have appeared at six Pac-12 Network events in the last week. No production or telecast was impacted.

"They are certainly going to try to knock us off the air," one conference source said in an email. "They will be active again this weekend and we suspect for the foreseeable future."

One source said there have been "threats" against non-union labor. The IATSE has tried to contact Pac-12 Network officials numerous times to work through the issues without a response according to a union official. 

The network is telecasting six basketball games this weekend, all of them in Southern California and the Bay Area. The immediate concern is whether Pac-12 Network programming could be impacted. On Saturday, strike lines were set up at Arizona State, Oregon State, Oregon, Washington and USC.

The network is halfway through its first year, having televised 276 of 550 events.

The Pac-12 released this statement this week: "We respect an individual’s right to decide whether to be represented by a union. Regardless of how they decide, we will remain focused on creating an environment that is inclusive, respectful and allows us to have direct relationships with our staff and contractors. We are building a robust enterprise that offers competitive compensation, an exciting and creative work environment, and growing work opportunities for industry professionals, campus staff and students from our universities for many years to come."

The IATSE said it authorized leadership to "negotiate concessions with its signatory crewing providers in order to accommodate the stated needs of the Pac-12 Network." The union went on to say the Pac-12 Network refused to communicate with it.

A call to IATSE president Matthew Loeb was not immediately returned.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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